Nostalgia is good at times, for it injects motivation and inspiration into the routine and moribund way of life. It gives an assurance that things will be fine and presents us with a set of case studies and memories when things went badly wrong but yet saw the light at the end. However, taking excessive refuge in nostalgia is not desirable for the simple reason that the past was not that rosy.
Taking excessive refuge in nostalgia has become a sort of world phenomenon. Leaders are making populist promises of good, glorious old days to win the elections. On the rise is the phenomenon of glorifying achievements of India’s past. Glorifying in itself is not a problem. The problem comes when the glorification is made without a proper scientific rationale.
The recent session of ‘Indian Science Congress’ is the best example of the way events are taking a turn. Intellectuals in the event proclaimed that India has a rich scientific past and Indians were aware of the ‘Test-tube baby technology’ evidenced from the birth of Kauravas in Mahabharat.
Indians were aware of different kinds of machines that were heavier than air and the invention of Wright brothers came way later. One intellectual went to the extent of rejecting the theories of Einstein, Newton on which modern physics is based.
There were several such instances of glorification of the past made by our politicians. However, these kinds of words from prominent intellectuals on a premier scientific platform is something of serious concern and is a mockery of Science.
Myths mirror the imaginative power of our species. They act as a collective thread that binds entire humanity. However, they don’t feed humanity. What feeds humanity is the scientific rationale and scientific discoveries. So, blurring the lines between science and myth is not desirable. If not for sticking to principle; at least for the survival of humanity.
Geo(H), First year, Miranda House